This inspiring account of how Shared Lives can be used to support a refugee was kindly supplied by a Shared Lives scheme which needs to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issues involved:
“Following being sold by her family and being trafficked into the UK not once but twice, ‘Martina’ was subjected to many kinds of alleged abuse. Despite having very good evidence against the alleged perpetrator, Martina did not identify him, perhaps to avoid repercussions.
Earlier this year Martina was referred to the Shared Lives scheme in a vulnerable state. Her life was in tatters, she was unable to communicate in English and was plainly scared. Through very careful consideration and matching, Martina was introduced to experienced Shared Lives carers.
We have found it hard at times to comprehend how one human being can experience so much in their short life, but still put their confidence in others. But in the seven months since, Martina has flourished. She is now able to communicate well in English. She has a place that she can call home; she is developing some strong friendships; she is able to be sad when she chooses to, but has the ability to feel joy and happiness. But most of all she has developed the most amazing relationships with her Shared lives carers, whom she now refers to as Mamma and Papa. Recently Martina brought the Shared Lives placement officer a box of chocolates. On the box she had stuck a note that quite simply said, thank you for choosing Mamma and Papa for my family!
Without Shared Lives, it is frightening to think of where Martina could have ended up. The success of this arrangement has been the result of amazing Shared Lives carers, her wonderful placement officer, but most of all, an amazing young woman, Martina.”